Market Day 

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One of the reasons we love our new apartment is the location. We can walk to base in about 10 minutes. I walk through Anjeong-ri “the ville” to get to base. There are several shops and restaurants. 

On days that end in either 3 or 8, there is a market day. Clarissa and I went to our first market day on Thursday after storytime. 

Along the Anjeong-ri shopping street, on the end away from the base, you will see tents set up the length of the side road. The stands sell fresh produce, snacks, clothes, handbags, live seafood, toys, and even birds. 

Clarissa was most excited about the live crabs and octopus. She kept trying to touch them. She thought that the birds were pretty but too loud. 

She was also very adamant about buying a watermelon. I told her that if she didn’t eat the watermelon, she would not be allowed to choose things on market day. 

She did eat her watermelon. I will definitely make market day part of our regular schedule. The produce is way cheaper and more fresh than the commissary because it is local. 

Beartree Park 

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About 10 years ago, the South Korean government decided that they wanted to move some of their governing activities further south. They decided to build a new city.

We drove from our new home at Camp Humphreys about a half hour on rural highways to get to Sejong to see Beartree Park

Admission for Clarissa was 8,000 won. Tim and I cost 13,000 won each to get in. We paid about $30 total. You are not allowed to bring food into the park. They will ask when you try to enter. 

The park was beautiful. It was made up of several different gardens. The path from place to place was stroller friendly. But several gardens had signs to park your stroller and not bring it on the garden path. 

Our first stop was the koi pond. Clarissa had a great time feeding the fish. You could buy food for 1,000 won. 

We visited several different gardens on the way to the food court. 

There was an actual restaurant in addition to the food court, but I don’t know what they serve there. There were four traditional options at the food court. We ordered some bibimbap and mandu and ate at a picnic table outside. It was tasty. I prefer my bibimbap with meat though. 

Next was a garden with some bear statues. Clarissa and I had fun pretending to play with the bears. 

Then was the main event. There were two different areas to feed the bears. You could pay 1,000 won for either a cup of cut carrots or a cup of pastry ball looking things. First, we saw the younger bears. Some of them were asleep. But some of them were pretty good at catching the food in their mouths. 

Then, we went to see the big bears. They were excellent at catching food in their mouths. 

Behind the bears was a small park with animal statues. 

There is an observatory but we could see plenty without bothering with that. The brochure said you could also feed deer and listed a petting zoo and a playground so we had other priorities. 

The brochure was misleading. There were deer in a fenced area. There may have been food available earlier in the day, but by 1pm when we were there, no one was selling food. It definitely wasn’t a petting zoo. There were animals that you might keep as pets. Corgis, Guinea pigs, rabbits, sheep, goats. But you weren’t allowed to touch them. There were also peacocks, ducks, and other birds in an unaccessible area. Both times we tried a “petting zoo” in Korea it was like that too. I think they just have a different definition of petting zoo. Clarissa enjoyed seeing the animals just the same. 

The brochure said you could take a walk with a baby bear. That definitely didn’t happen. There were baby bears in the petting zoo area but there was a big sign that said not to touch them. 

We passed more gardens on our way out. There wasn’t actually a playground. There was an area that looked like they might do shows. But nothing was happening at that time. 

We enjoyed our afternoon at Beartree Park. We may go back again before we leave. 

Random Daegu Adventures

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There are a few places that I have been wanting to check out. Clarissa and I have actually done a lot of exploring with friends in the past two weeks. 

Our first adventure was Racoona Matata, a racoon cafe in downtown Daegu. I honestly don’t recommend it for small children. A friend went to check it out with some adults so we thought it would be fine to bring the kids there. It cost 4,000 won ($4) per person to enter the cafe. The racoons were cute. One was friendly but another was very aggressive and swiped at Clarissa’s face when she got close. The worker gave us what looked like dog food to feed them. I did pet them. Their fur was a little sticky. Clarissa was excited at first, but that only lasted five minutes and then was afraid of the racoons. Her friend liked it though. 

Our next adventure was the Daegu City Tour. For the first year and a half or so in Daegu, Clarissa really enjoyed Tayo. One of the grown up busses on the show is Cito, whose face is on the Daegu City Tour busses. Clarissa would often point and say, “Look! It’s Cito!” 

There are 14 stops on the bus and a full loop takes an hour and 45 minutes. But you can hop on and off the bus as much as you like in one day. It only costs 5,000 won ($5 usd) for an adult. Elementary school students cost 3,000 won and younger children ride for free. We got on at the beginning, Dongdaegu. But I think you can pay and get on at any stop. 

It didn’t matter to me how long we were on the bus, as long as we could say that we rode the Cito bus. It was a rainy day so we just decided on one place to go. I was surprised that there was not a toilet on this double decker bus. The kids needed to use the restroom at stop 10, the Apsan Observatory. Thankfully we found a toilet right near the stop and were able to hop back on before the bus left to continue to our intended destination. We got off on stop 12, Children’s Hall. 

I have not been to Children’s Hall in almost two years. It is a children’s museum. The kids had a great time. I was a little disappointed in that the exhibits that were broken on my last visit were still broken. In addition to the tour bus, there is a subway stop for Children’s Hall on the yellow line. 

Museum entrance is free. There is a “game room” where you can pay to ride mechanical figures. It costs 100 won (about 10 cents). You can also pay that price for the shooting range game. There are things to climb on and ride outside as well. 

We had lunch at Ricco Papa, a chain restaurant in Daegu. They have pasta, pizza, and random other things for decent prices. The best part is that there is a special room for families to eat that is attached to a play place for the kids where they can climb, slide, and jump on a trampoline. 

Our latest adventure was Dalseong Park. There is paid parking available on the street. But Dalseong Park is also a stop on the yellow line. 

The park itself is pretty with trees and rocks. The kids had plenty of space to run, jump, and climb. There is a bathroom facility and a free zoo. But it was a typical Korean zoo so the cages were small and the animals look sad. 

Pennsylvania visit

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Apparently I acquired many things in Virginia because when I tried to check in my suitcase, it was 20 pounds over the weight limit. Oops. Mom is going to mail some to me instead. 

Clarissa did well on the flight to Philadelphia. She was again disappointed at the lack of TV. But I gave her a new activity book so she was fine. 

After the flight, a lady stopped me to ask how old Clarissa was and then asked me how to keep a toddler happy on a long flight. I wrote a post on that once so I need to go back and update it. 

On Wednesday, Clarissa, Omi, and I went to the Bloomsburg Children’s Museum. It only cost $6.50 per person for admission and it was excellent. We stayed two hours, but we would have stayed longer if it wasn’t closing time. 

There were two floors of interactive exhibits. The top floor was more geared toward preschool and lower elementary aged kids. There were life size dioramas of animals that live in Pennsylvania. There were even models of the animal homes. Some animals had crafts as well.  They had several matching games, a huge bird’s nest with bird costumes to wear, an Eastern Woodlands Indian longhouse, live turtles, giant teeth, cars with a race track, a boat, and a play house. 

The bottom floor was geared toward elementary and middle school kids. They had some dress up clothes, food pyramid activities, ancient Egypt, a one room school house, a coal mine, and dinosaurs. 

On Thursday we had lunch at the park where Tim and I were engaged. We didn’t get all the way to the marina because Clarissa was distracted by the playground. 

We went to the thrift store in the afternoon to get Clarissa some snow boots and snow pants. I was excited because we found both as well as black boots, brown boots, and some skirts for me. On the way home we spent some time with uncle Matt and aunt Anne. 

On Friday, we woke up to snow. Clarissa was so excited that she really wouldn’t eat her breakfast. Once outside, we tried to make a snowman and taught Clarissa how to have a snowball fight. 

We even went sledding which I had never done before. 

It was fun to walk around the yard and see how different things look in the snow. 

We spent the evening at Aunt Anne’s for a family dinner and a play date with her granddaughters. When it was time to say goodbye Clarissa went from “but I like it here” to “I want to go back to my homeland for Daddy to hold me for real (instead of Skype).” 

Saturday was one of my favorite days. Omi put in an old Sunday school music cassette tape and Clarissa loved it! She spent at least an hour dancing around the room. Then she spent a few hours playing Legos with Pop before making some jewelry with Omi. 

After dinner we went to Aunt Anne’s for a Jordan Essentials party and a play date for Clarissa. 

Sunday morning, Omi opened her birthday presents. Then we headed south to meet Tim’s kindergarten teacher who always sends Clarissa presents for holidays. We headed to Philadelphia to meet up with some other aunts and uncles before we headed to the airport. 

When we moved to Korea, we flew through JFK and had to change terminals and go through security again. I assumed it was because we switched airlines… We had to do that again this round. I was so glad we had a long layover because the trek between terminals and security took over two hours. 

We were able to Skype Tim before our flight. The flight wasn’t full so they changed our seats to give us our own row of 4. Clarissa fell asleep within 20 minutes and slept about 8 hours. Due to the increased space, I actually slept 4 hours on the plane, which never happens. 

We are on our train to Daegu now. Clarissa and I are so excited to see Tim. 

Visiting the homeland 

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Last summer, Tim and I were watching DVDs from Devoted and I knew that I wanted to come home and go to the conference in person for 2017. Two years is a long time to keep Clarissa away from the grandparents anyway. 

The obstacle was paying for the flights. But I got around that by signing up for two airline credit cards. The sign on bonuses gave us enough points to pay for my and Clarissa’s flights. While we definitely saved money this way, I don’t necessarily recommend this method. The flight times were not what I would have chosen. 

We took the train from Daegu to Incheon Airport in Seoul. Thankfully we made a new friend on the train which made getting on and off the train with a stroller, suitcase, and 3 year old so much easier. Plus we had a friend to eat dinner with at the airport. They had a cool play area to teach about an emergency water landing. 

We had an overnight layover in Dallas so we booked a hotel. Jet lag is always interesting and Clarissa slept about 6 hours on the flight so we only slept from about 9pm – 1245 am. 

We had chickfila at the Dallas airport and then flew to Philadelphia. Clarissa was disappointed that there wasn’t a TV on the plane but she did very well. 

She fell asleep on the next flight before we got to the runway. We were second in line to take off when they closed the Philadelphia airport. I was glad that Clarissa slept because the plane shook a lot during the storm. I think she would have been scared. Plus it was fun to have her snuggle/sleep on me. She is so tall now that she doesn’t really fit easily anymore. 

By the time we arrived in Norfolk, she had been asleep 5.5 hours so she was ready to play. That made for some fun playtime with Grammy and Pappy before bed. She eventually kicked me out of the bed at 4am because she wanted Grammy instead. 

Sunday was fun. My sister and her husband came over to celebrate my dad’s birthday. Clarissa was so tired that she fell asleep sitting up while playing behind the couch at 4pm and slept until 6am the next morning. 

On Monday we headed to the Virginia Aquarium. It was pretty cool in that most of the plant and animal life is indigenous to Virginia. There are two buildings with a pretty cool nature walk in between. Clarissa loved it. Then we checked some things off my bucket list with trips to the Full Cup, chickfila, and Target. Clarissa tried to play in a fountain outside and was very confused when we explained that in America, you are not allowed to play in fountains like in Korea. 

On Tuesday, we headed to the Virginia Zoo. Apparently there is a storytime every Tuesday at 11am called Zoo Tales. It was pretty cool. They read two books and Clarissa was able to touch a leopard gecko. I think if we still lived in Norfolk, we would attend regularly. 

After the zoo, we went to the Book Exchange for some free books and then headed back to my parents’ house to see my two aunts that came to town. Clarissa took a little nap so she lasted until 5pm that day. 

Wednesday one of my girlfriends drove up from Raleigh. We went to Mt Trashmore for a walk and then had a girls group reunion with some other friends at Plaza Azteca and Starbucks. I randomly ran into one of my Kentucky girls and then had dinner with another family from KPC. 

By Thursday Clarissa started asking when we would return to her homeland (Korea) to see Daddy for real (instead of Skype). She asked that question every day for the rest of the trip. 

On Thursday morning, we had a visit from another friend before we went swimming with Pappy. Clarissa really enjoyed the pool. Bow Creek Rec Center has a great kiddy pool with fountains and floats. It is also wheelchair accessible. You can pay for a day pass if you are not a member of the rec center. 

Thursday night was the first time I drove this trip. It took me a few minutes to realize that I was not in Korea and therefore reasonably safe while driving before I enjoyed driving by myself while listening to the radio. I really enjoyed hearing Darlene Zschech speak for the first night of Devoted

Friday was a full day of the the conference. As always worship was amazing and the teaching was great. In person is way better than just watching on DVDs. 

During the break on Friday afternoon, I came home to see my brother in law’s sister and meet her baby. Clarissa had a great time playing with her. 

Friday Clarissa also had a party with my parents. We have been in Korea for her last two birthdays so they wanted to have a Clarissa celebration. 

Saturday was the last day of Devoted and I was able to visit Josie during the break. I think she remembered me and she let me sit next to her and pet her. 

Saturday night we visited with an aunt and uncle that had come to see us. We also watched Hidden Figures which was an excellent movie. 

Sunday morning we went to church with my parents. Clarissa looked sad during worship and when I asked her about it she said, “I want to dance.” She danced for a few songs before she got tired and fell asleep. 

Then we had lunch with my family. Mom and I watched the latest Anne of Green Gables movie. It had different actors so we didn’t like it as much. 

On Monday, Clarissa was invited to try a gymnastics class at the Little Gym. She absolutely loved it. She did a decent job of following directions too. The parents were even invited to participate in the last ten minutes of the class. 

After class we headed to Norfolk to have lunch with Joe’s mom and grandma. Then I had a fun visit with another of my Kentucky girls and had dinner at Bangkok Garden with Shannon. 

Tuesday morning we started the trek to see Tim’s parents in Pennsylvania.

Pearl Harbor and the trek home

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Friday morning,  Clarissa and I headed to Pearl Harbor.  Parking was free but packed, so we ended up parking at the marina instead.  I read that strollers weren’t allowed in most areas,  so Clarissa had to walk I carried Clarissa most of the day.  Halfway through the parking lots there was a sign that said no bags or purses so we had to bring our diaper bag back to the car.

I saw plenty of strollers in the parts we visited (the free parts) so I could have brought the stroller. Oh well. Clarissa likes to cuddle anyway. I thought the memorials, models, and exhibits were interesting. Clarissa especially enjoyed the torpedoes, big guns, submarine, and the models of boats and planes in the museum.

Next, we headed to Ford Island to check out the Pacific Aviation Museum. You need a military ID to enter the museum because Ford Island is an active Navy base. You can take a guided tour of the museum but it’s cheaper to just walk through yourself. Clarissa and I both enjoyed walking through two different hangars and observing all of the different kinds of planes. She seemed especially interested in the model of the Battle of Midway. I thought it was interesting to see the differences in the planes over time as well as from different countries.

Clarissa was disappointed that she was not allowed to climb into the cockpit of each plane. There was also a flight simulator, but she was too young for that. I learned that George H W Bush was the youngest naval pilot during World War 2.

We had another play date with our friends before heading back to the hotel. Once Tim finished work we headed back to the mall for Teppanyaki. The food was good but very expensive. The service wasn’t great. We opted to skip the fireworks at the hotel and instead visit Best Buy and Whole Foods on our last night in Hawaii.

I think that if we were living the United States right now, the trip would have looked a little different because we wouldn’t have spent as much time shopping. Two years in Korea leaves us with a list of things we miss being able to buy. This trip was also different than we expected because of the hours Tim had to work. Usually, he has more free time to explore. If we had known his work schedule ahead of time, we probably would have added a day or two to the trip. I am also really pleased with our decision to get a rental car this trip instead of relying on public transportation like we usually do. Clarissa and I would have had a completely different experience if we had to rely on the bus system. Though we would have only put my name on the rental car. Tim didn’t drive much and we paid a lot more for the second person.

Saturday was another long travel day. We lost a day because of the International Date Line and came home late Sunday night. Also, for some reason the flight from Honolulu to  Japan was three hours longer (planned) on the way back. It was a much bumpier ride so it must have something to do with the wind currents.

Honolulu Airport had a really friendly staff. The prices at the airport were more expensive than anywhere else I have seen. We played at a new play area at Narita Airport in Japan. Clarissa really enjoys the play areas at that airport.

We decided that we would leave our heavy winter coats in the car and just bring sweatshirts on the journey because we didn’t want to have to carry them to Hawaii. We were hot most of the way to Hawaii so we left our sweatshirts in our checked bags for the flights home. We landed in Daegu at about 9pm and it was about 27 degrees outside. They parked the plane far away and we had to wait outside for a bus to take us to the terminal. Thankfully, we gate checked the stroller this round so Clarissa could sleep in the stroller instead of having to carry her through immigration and customs. We ran to the car since we were so cold. Parking was ridiculously expensive. We had to park in the International Lot instead of long term parking, so it might be cheaper that way. Next time, I think we will have a friend bring us to the bus station. That way we can pay $10 per person for the bus instead of the 115,000 won ($97) we paid for airport parking.

A Terrific Thursday in Waikiki 

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For the first time ever,  Clarissa wanted to wear panties to leave the house.  That made me a little nervous since she has definitely been in a diaper the whole week. 

We met up with a friend that I used to dance with at church.  We are both moms now and were excited to meet each other’s daughters. 

As we were driving to meet them,  Clarissa said,  “We are going to z-zero-zero. That spells zoo.”  We spent the rest of the drive discussing the difference between the letter o and the number zero. 

We went to the Honolulu Zoo.  There are kiosks to pre – pay for parking.  It only costs $1 per hour,  but it is best to overpay.  They will ticket you for being late. Admission to the zoo is reasonable as well. Military adults pay $4,  children are $4.

It is a decent size zoo. Clarissa didn’t want me to bring the stroller.  I was thankful when I saw that my friend brought her wagon for the girls. 

There was a neat display with two volunteers who were explaining about different animal skulls.  Apparently an elephant gets a new set of teeth four times in his life.  The last set has teeth the size and weight of a brick!  The giraffe mouth was interesting too because they have a front set of teeth and a back set.  

There were several different sections of the zoo.  One section had African animals.  There was a bird sanctuary.  The playground was really nice.  There was also a small petting zoo.  

 We had fun swinging on the banyan trees before we left.  We hung out at the car a bit too so that we could keep playing but not get a ticket for being over our time. It was so hard to say goodbye. While we were waiting,  Clarissa decided that she needed to drive the car and climbed over the back seat and front seat to buckle herself in! 

After we got back to the hotel,  Clarissa and I headed to the beach.  Along the way,  Clarissa started picking up leaves.  She did not want anyone to step on them. 

She picked up a few shells in the sand.  Then I explained the rules for swimming at the beach.  She started walking to the water and freaked out when the tide came in so we went to the pool instead. 

Tim got off on time today so that we could go to the Hale Koa Luau. It was such a cool experience.  There was like a happy hour first where they also had some experiences.  There was a guy talking about climbing coconut trees,  someone giving ukulele lessons,  and you could make a flower bracelet as well. 

Then,  we were ushered to our seats for dinner.  It was delicious.  I tried the traditional poi.  It tasted kind of sour.  

The entertainment portion was excellent.  The cast did dances from several islands including Hawaii,  Tahiti,  Samoa,  and New Zealand.  There was also a fire dancer. 

I appreciated that they took the time at the end to honor veterans in the audience for each war and also each branch of service.  The finale was special as the host asked anyone who had lost a friend in battle to stand and hold a candle as he sang “I am proud to be an American.” I highly recommend the luau.